When Laura Garcia Serventi was a young girl growing up in Buenos Aires, she spent countless hours at her grandfather’s house watching him paint.
“He had a bodega, but his real love was painting—but he couldn’t do it because of, you know, life. So he started painting when he retired, and he would paint, every day, plants that he had in his house,” she says via video from her home in Brooklyn. “I spent a lot of time with him in his house, and I was fascinated by painting … I think from a very early age, I knew I wanted to paint just like him.”
Her grandfather’s love of botanicals became her own, and it continues to inform her art practice to this day. Rich, whimsical colors and thick yet gentle brushstrokes play prominently in her work, which spans everything from tropical palms to prickly cacti to wispy hemp (more on that in a minute). And though varied in their palettes and their foliage, these pieces feel cohesive in their mission: honor thy plants. They are her love letters to the natural world.
“I feel the urge to connect with nature,” Garcia Serventi says. “I want to preserve it, in a way. And I just feel very connected to it. It makes me happy to be among plants.”
Her talent caught the attention of cannabis brand Pure Sunfarms, who commissioned her to do a series of paintings on their humble product. It was an exciting challenge for her, and an educational experience, as well.
“I didn’t even know that cannabis had different strains. I was completely ignorant about it,” she admits. “But when they contacted me, I loved the idea of learning about it, and I was surprised by the richness of the plant and the variations. And I also saw it as a challenge because they were not only asking me to paint the plant, but also try to translate what the effects of a strain could be on a person.”
Whether it’s plants for us to ingest, smell, or simply stare at and nurture, Garcia Serventi treats them with respect, dignity, and a touch of magic. She invites the outdoors in, and takes us along for the adventure.